Sunday, January 27, 2008

What is win-win?

Such a common phrase and such a wonderful idealistic concept - but can it really happen?

I think it's a case of easier said than done. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it automatically.

So what does it mean? Or rather, what does it take to play win-win when it appears that everyone around you is playing win-lose?

In ancient China, there was much honour in revenge. Someone gets killed or assasinated and the descendants swear to avenge his death by killing the enemy. And then the enemy's descendants will have to avenge that death in return, and so it goes on, until both families are wiped out. Because of this, when the Emperor sentences a man to death, his whole family would be killed too, down to the last child. So that there is no possibility of vengence. Where does this kind of mindset get us?

Win-lose equals to lose-lose. Always.

And yet, I can understand this. It is automatic with me too. When someone hurts me, I automatically have the desire to retaliate. Whether it is something involving life and death, or a small everyday thing, the underlying issue is the same.

Ask yourself : how do you respond when someone shows you the finger? Or you're driving and another driver cuts recklessly into your lane? Even the most restrained person would probably retaliate, if not in actions or words, than by mentally hurling a curse or two. Well, verbal or even mental attack is still an attack. Negative energy can be harmful too.

Maybe this automatic impulse to retaliate is a trait necessary for survival? Maybe without it, we human beings would be extinct? But one thing's for sure : this way of living is NOW doing us more harm than good. And If we continue living with this impulse, it would be a huge lose-lose for all humanity.

So when attacked, stand firm without retaliating. Break the cycle of 'you attack me therefore I have the right to attack you back'. It takes two to fight.

Yes, it is easier said than done. But then, I ask myself, have I never accidentally caused hurt or inconvenience? Of course I have. Many, many times. And there are blessed people who forgive me for my mistakes. They have broken the cycle by choosing to forgive instead of hurting me back. That is the way : Forgiveness and Compassion.

This morning, I am hurt by something that someone said. My automatic impulse was to confront them and fight back. I cried for a while. Then I chose to write this instead. Because the only way out of the vicious cycle is to stop. Just stop. And choose, consciously choose.

It's not about whether the attack is justified or not. No need to waste time trying to figure out who's right and who's wrong. A justified attack is still an attack.

There must be another way.

Giving in is not it. That's a lose-win game, and that will also lead to lose-lose eventually.

I dream that one day, instead of automatically sending back poison thought arrows, I will send blessings of love, sweetness and healing. It will be my automatic reaction, instead of a delayed one.

Until that day comes, I will constantly remind myself to be Aware, Stop, and Choose.
And I will choose the way that leads to Peace, Love and Healing.

2 Comments:

Blogger jingwei said...

Janet will be Janet. :D

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Thanks Janet.

Being the kiasu person that I am, I shall always remember your words.

win-lose = lose-lose.

7:32 PM  

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